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4th Test, Ranchi, February 23 - 26, 2024, England tour of India
353 & 145
(T:192) 307 & 192/5

India won by 5 wickets

Player Of The Match
90 & 39*

Gill and Jurel weather England spin storm to take India to series win

Bashir's two-in-two after lunch opened up the game, but in the end, England's second-innings collapse meant that they didn't have enough to play with

Valkerie Baynes
Valkerie Baynes
India 307 (Jurel 90, Jaiswal 73, Bashir 5-119) and 192 for 5 (Rohit 55, Gill 52*, Jurel 39*, Bashir 3-79) beat England 353 (Root 122*, Robinson 58, Jadeja 4-67) and 145 (Crawley 60, Ashwin 5-51, Kuldeep 4-22) by five wickets
India, led by the sixth-wicket pair of Shubman Gill and Dhruv Jurel, stood up to England's threat to win the fourth Test inside four days and claim the series 3-1 with one to play.
After Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal set off India's chase beautifully, they suffered a substantial wobble, losing five wickets for 36 runs in 20.5 overs to be 120 for 5, needing 72 more runs for victory. But an unbroken partnership between Gill and Jurel, the latter playing just his second Test, saw them home.
England's young spinners, Shoaib Bashir and Tom Hartley, bowled with great maturity to make India work in the second hour of the morning session after a bright start when they resumed on 40 without loss, needing 152 more. Bashir put the frighteners on India by adding three wickets to his first-innings five-for.
But ultimately, England had left India with too little to do after Jurel lifted India to within touching distance in the first innings with his 90 and England were bowled out for 145 in their second - thanks to R Ashwin's five-for and Kuldeep Yadav's four - setting India a victory target of 192 with two days and a bit to go. They needed just over half a day.
Bazball is more than a "vibe", it's an ethos with a proven Test-series record of four triumphs, three drawn and no defeats - until now. But it was the vibe that kept England believing almost to the very end.
It was possibly why India were so wary, having lost three wickets in 8.5 overs.
After James Anderson's age-defying mid-air catch at short third to remove Jaiswal, who has been so impressive this series, India put on just 34 runs in the 19.3 overs until lunch. It was possibly why India got the jitters after the break, with Ravindra Jadeja spooning a full toss straight to midwicket to give Bashir his first of two wickets in two balls. It was possibly why, when Ben Foakes could be heard shouting "we're a bang-bang away, lads" with India needing just 27 more, nailed-on England fans could be forgiven for thinking "just maybe".
But India have a proven record of their own, having not lost a Test series at home in more than 11 years.
On Monday morning, they were chewing through their target, adding 42 runs in the first eight overs of the day. Rohit slammed Anderson for six over mid-on to take his side past fifty, leaving them with 140 more to get. He and Jaiswal pulled out the sweeps and reverse sweeps against Bashir and Hartley as they kept the boundary count up.
But Joe Root interrupted their stand on 84 runs, extracting some turn out of the rough with a full delivery, messing with Jaiswal's attempt to clear extra cover as his outside edge flew to short third and Anderson flung his 41-year-old self forward for a full-stretch grab.
Hartley drew Rohit out of his crease with a ball outside off which kissed the edge ever so lightly before sailing into Foakes' gloves. Even without the edge, Rohit would have been out for 55 as Foakes whipped off the bails with him still out of his ground and the dismissal was originally thought to be a stumping before UltraEdge revealed a faint spike.
Bashir removed Rajat Patidar for a six-ball duck next over when his length ball turned from off stump into the inside edge and popped to Ollie Pope at backward short leg via the knee roll. It extended a poor series for Patidar, who has only twice reached double-figures and once passed 30 in six innings.
India went to lunch needing 74 with seven wickets in hand. Then Bashir swung the momentum England's way with wickets off consecutive balls in the second over after the interval. He had Jadeja caught by Jonny Bairstow off a full toss, then got one to turn from outside off, beating Sarfaraz Khan's defensive prod to take a thin edge onto the pad and into Pope's hands at backward short leg.
Jurel survived the hat-trick ball and when he drove a full, wide Bashir delivery through the covers it was India's first boundary off the bat in 31 overs, and took their task under 50 runs.
From there, he and Gill got to work, steadily accumulating the runs they needed. Jurel initially took the lead role in their union, reaching 32 off 70 balls before Gill, with 39 from 119, cut loose. With 20 runs needed, Gill launched Bashir over long-off, and then, two balls later, raised his fifty by clearing the fence at deep midwicket.
Jurel got in on the act, pulling Hartley through mid-on for four, and it was he who struck the winning runs, working a Hartley delivery off his legs as he and Gill ran two.
Jurel's first innings was key to India's victory, too. Only he and Jaiswal, with 73, passed 40 for India as they set out in pursuit of England's 353, which was led by Joe Root's return to form via an unbeaten century. Jurel came in with his side 161 for 5 and saw Sarfaraz and Ashwin fall before staging a 76-run stand with Kuldeep and putting on another 40 with No. 10 Akash Deep, who was making his Test debut. By the time Jurel was last man out, India had put up 307 runs and closed the deficit to just 46.
Bashir and Hartley shared eight wickets between them during India's first innings and England were backing themselves to build enough of a buffer when they came back out to bat. But Zak Crawley's half-century was the only contribution of note as England's batters racked up three ducks and Bairstow was the only other one to bat beyond 20. It left India with a target that proved to be as achievable as it looked, with plenty of intrigue thrown in.

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor, women's cricket, at ESPNcricinfo

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